A North Shore clifftop mansion that shed a quarter of a million dollars in value in two years is among the house sales to make the biggest loss in late 2018.

The four-bedroom home at 20 Cliff Road in Torbay - with a swimming pool, outdoor fireplace and Hauraki Gulf views - sold for $3.05 million last October, 7.6 per cent less than the $3.3m it went for in April 2016.

A Howick four-bedroom home and Epsom six-bedroom mansion that sold for losses of $238,000 and $235,000, respectively, were also among those to slip in the last three months of 2018.

Overall, 5 per cent of all Auckland homes sold for a loss between October and December last year, according to analyst CoreLogic's latest Pain & Gain report.

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Despite most Auckland house sales remaining profitable, this was the highest percentage of loss-making sales in any quarter during the last five years, CoreLogic senior property economist Kelvin Davidson said.

"Consistent with other evidence of a softer Auckland property market, the proportion of resales being made for a gross loss went above 5 per cent in Quarter 4, for the first time since mid-2013," he said.

The losses come as most Auckland home owners continue to sit on gold mines after house prices doubled in many parts of the city between 2007 and 2016.

But with Auckland price rises grinding to a halt over the last two years and growing uncertainty hanging over the market as a result of ongoing Government reforms and tax changes, the story is not the same for those who bought since 2016.

Davidson said the percentage of house sales that turned profits had been steadily trending down each quarter from a high of 99 per cent in 2017.

This reflected "the creeping sense that the market has softened lately on the back of factors such as high listings volumes and the effect on demand of the foreign buyer ban", he said.

OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan said that as the market in Auckland continued to plateau, "we'll start to see more properties feel the pinch, especially those that were bought at the height of the market".

"But those properties in good locations or on large landblocks that can be subdivided will continue to command premium profits and prices," he said.

CoreLogic's Davidson agreed, saying that while more homes had been selling for a loss, Auckland's housing market continued to remain profitable.

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Property owners netted a combined $1.3 billion in profits during the last quarter of 2018 as 94.9 per cent of them made gains.

Nationally, the market snapshot was even healthier as 96.3 per cent of homes sold for a profit from October to December last year, up slightly on the previous quarter.

Wellington was the best performing market with 99.1 per cent of homes selling for a profit, while 98.2 per cent of Dunedin homes made gains.

Christchurch was the poorest performing market with 10.5 per cent of homes selling for a loss.

Owner-occupiers across the country made $1.9b in profits in the last three months of 2018 from the sale of their homes and $13m in losses, while investors pocked $1.2b in gains and $12.6m in losses.

More houses (96.6 per cent) sold for profits than did apartments (89.8 per cent), while 99.7 per cent of all homes with building consents for possible renovations sold for gains.

The home recording the biggest loss for the quarter was a four-bedroom weatherboard in the West Auckland suburb of Ranui that sold for $680,800 at auction last November after previously going for $960,000 at the market peak in June 2016.

However, it appeared the new owners had subdivided the land and resold the house on a much smaller block, meaning they may be able to recoup or exceed their losses on the sale of the rest of the land.

Biggest losers

The 5 Kiwi homes sold for the greatest losses in the last three months of 2018, according to CoreLogic data:

•97 Hetherington Road, Ranui: bought for $960,000 in June 2016 and sold for $680,800 in November 2018 for a 29.1 per cent loss of $279,200
•27 Rimu Road, Manurewa: bought for $842,000 in August 2017 and sold for $550,000 in November 2018 for a 32.5 per cent loss of $265,000
•320 Cliff Road, Torbay: bought for $3.3m in April 2016 and sold for $3.05m in October 2018 for a 7.6 per cent loss of $250,000
•43 Artesia Close, Shamrock Park: bought for $1.768m in October 2016 and sold for $1,53m in November 2018 for a 13.5 per cent loss of $238,000
•529A Wapiti Avenue, Epsom: bought for $2.635m in March 2017 and sold for $2.4m in October 2018 for an 8.9 per cent loss of $235,000